Ashtanga Yoga focuses on strength, speed and endurance and sometimes takes students to their physical limits. It is not without reason that the yoga style is considered the most challenging yoga style and offers support in getting the body in shape while at the same time calming the mind.
Ashtanga is, therefore, a real power workout, which has been successfully practiced in numerous studios and training rooms for many years. But why is this yoga style so popular, and for whom are the exercises the right choice?
Power Yoga for a healthy body and mind
Ashtanga Yoga is also known as Raja Yoga and is generally considered a too demanding and hard yoga style.
Ashtanga focuses on speed, pace, and strength and is traditionally taught according to the original Indian teaching’s strict rules.
Translated from Sanskrit, the term Ashtanga means “eight limbs.” Therefore the style is also described as an eight-limbed path.
In the West, the yoga style was able to gain a foothold through the yogi Sir K. Pattabhi Jois, who was able to establish the style in Western cultures, such as the USA or Australia, especially in the 70s and 80s.
Since then, the very physical yoga style has become a popular alternative among students who want to shape their bodies and release energy. Also, many celebrities like Madonna or Sting made sure that Ashtanga gained popularity.
This is how Ashtanga Yoga works in practice.
A simple look inside the yoga room is often enough to see the differences that distinguish Ashtanga from other yoga styles.
Preset Ashtanga sequences with increasing difficulty and the correct breathing rhythm form the foundation of the exercises. Although these are strictly prescribed, the students always perform the exercises at their own adapted pace.
The aim is to warm up the body from within to detoxify the body and, at the same time, release possible energy barriers. At the same time, the aim is to improve blood circulation and build up strength and endurance step by step. Another pleasant side effect: the body is strengthened and formed, and the mind is calmed.
Many yogis only use the first Ashtanga Yoga series for training due to the difficulty of the remaining sequences. These exercises are sometimes very challenging and require a certain amount of experience not to put the body in danger and keep injury low.
Ashtanga is, therefore, a real power workout and a small challenge – even for students who have been active for some time and have tried different styles.
For whom is this yoga style suitable?
Ashtanga Yoga is an exceptional style among the many yoga teachings. Therefore, it appeals primarily to students who want to try a new alternative and enjoy exercises that focus on building strength and endurance. The body is effectively shaped, energy is released, and weight is reduced.
At the same time, however, students with knee problems have to consider the high risk of injury that can sometimes occur in Ashtanga Yoga due to the very demanding postures. For possible back problems, however, the yoga workout can work wonders to release tension.
Experienced students, in particular, can find a demanding new challenge with Ashtanga Yoga. However, this is less true for inexperienced participants, who are usually advised to do an intensive beginner workout. Many yogis now offer this training.
The yoga community does not only positively receive Ashtanga Yoga. Some critics associate the style with a high risk of injury due to the speed, the complicated exercises and challenging jumps. Even experienced students quickly reach their limits through the exercises and, in the worst case, are confronted with strains or knee problems.
Therefore, it is essential to practice Ashtanga Yoga under the supervision of an experienced yogi only. This should be especially important for students who have little experience with other styles.
Strength and endurance and speed, and sometimes complicated exercise sequences focus on the most challenging yoga style. However, it is not without reason that Ashtanga has been so immensely popular among numerous students for many decades. The style is exactly the right choice if you want to strengthen your body in a targeted manner, reduce weight and increase your fitness.
Beginners, however, must be aware of the high risk of injury that comes with Ashtanga exercises. Complicated jumps, a high tempo, and challenging posture exercises demand their price, which is reflected in the form of strains or other injuries without a yogi’s support. Therefore, it is important not to overstrain your own body and do exercises appropriate to your level of performance. The option of increasing yourself and the challenge is, after all, still open to you later.